(AGI) July 1 - At least 70 people, mostly soldiers and somecivilians, were killed by militants affiliated with IslamicState (IS) in northern Sinai on Wednesday. Medical and securitysources said 38 jihadists had also been killed in a coordinatedassault against at least five checkpoints and booby-trappedroads around a police headquarters. Egyptian F-16 fighteraircraft have bombed pro-IS militant positions in the SheikhZuweid area in northern Sinai, where the attacks took place.Two explosions were heard in the Egyptian city of Rafah, on theborder with the Gaza Strip in northern Sinai, according tosecurity sources and witnesses. Israel has now ramped upsecurity measures along the border with Egypt and has closedthe Nitzana crossing into Sinai and the Kerem Shalom crossingin the far south of the Gaza Strip. A statement from theItalian Foreign Office said Egypt was a pillar of stability inthe area and that the escalation of the terrorist threat wouldnot succeed in denting the determination of the people or theirgovernment. The Egyptian political parties have also condemnedthe terrorist attacks. Leader of the centre-left Freedom Party,Salah Hasballah, said the insurrection in Sinai had taken on anextremely serious dimension and has called forcounter-terrorism efforts to be stepped up. Leader of theSalafist Al-Nour Party, Younes Makhioun, condemned Wednesday'sattack, saying that the "criminal operations in Sinai would notshake the determination of the Egyptian people". A pressrelease issued by the Socialist Popular Alliance Party offeredcondolences for the members of the security forces who had losttheir lives, and said the attacks "demonstrated the terrorists'attempt to destroy the Egyptian state", calling for thecriminals to be brought to justice. The National ProgressiveUnionist (Tagammu) Party said the assaults were shocking, allthe more so because they had taken place during the Muslim holymonth of Ramadan. In a communique, Tagammu said: "Islam doesnot accept such acts of violence". (AGI). .